Keeping Up With The Joneses (But Not The Bloombergs)

Room For Debate tackles income inequality. Tyler Cowen suggests that the growing income gap isn't hugely probematic because "in terms of happiness [the gap] is relatively low by broader historical standards." He also claims that "a lot of envy is local":

People worry about how they are doing compared to their neighbors, their friends, their relatives, their co-workers, and the people they went to high school with. They don’t compare themselves to Michael Bloomberg, unless of course they are also billionaires. When the guy down the hall gets a bigger raise, perhaps by courting the boss, that’s what really bothers us. In other words, envy and resentment are not going away and they also do not stem fundamentally from the contrast between ordinary lives and the lives of the very wealthy.